'Lost' Guggenheim Portrait Discovered After 93 Years

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ROANOKE, Va. - eTradeWire -- After languishing for nearly a century in storage, a 'lost' life-size painting of Mrs. Benjamin Guggenheim and Child was recently discovered.  Completed in 1906, the painting by Alphonse Jongers was commissioned by Benjamin Guggenheim, who died aboard the Titanic, and depicts his wife Florette Seligman and their youngest daughter Barbara Hazel Guggenheim seated on an outdoor balcony.

Other than a one-month display of Jongers works in 1906 at the Oehme Galleries in NYC, this painting has never before been on public display and was awarded the 'Place of Honor' at the Oehme Galleries in 1906.  Following that brief display, the painting hung in the Guggenheim NYC residence until 1926 when it was gifted by Mrs. Guggenheim to a private institution in Virginia where it remained in storage for the next 93 years.

Alphonse Jongers, born 1872 in France, was one of the Lyme art colony's charter members.  He moved to French Canada in 1895 where he opened a studio in Montreal before moving to New York City.  Jongers played an important role in the early "Barbizon" years of the Lyme art colony and his works are represented in the National Portrait Gallery, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Collection of Fine Arts, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.  He was a member of the Society of American Artists and was elected an Associate of the National Academy of Design in 1906. Jongers returned to Montreal in 1924, where he was successful enough to be called "one of Canada's leading portrait painters." Two years after his death in 1945, a memorial exhibition of his work was held at the Montreal Art Association.

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Benjamin Guggenheim, brother of Soloman Guggenheim, died aboard the Titanic in 1912.  Married to Florette Seligman in 1895, his children included Benita Rosalind Guggenheim, Peggy Guggenheim and Barbara Hazel Guggenheim.

Following conservation treatment by Virginia Art Conservation and Restoration, LLC, it is anticipated the painting will return home to NYC.


Mark E. Wittl, Conservator
Virginia Art Conservation and Restoration, LLC

Source: Virginia Art Conservation and Restoration, LLC
Filed Under: Arts

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